Hawaii bill aims to help COFA migrants pay for health care - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii bill aims to help COFA migrants pay for health care

By CATHY BUSSEWITZ
Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii lawmakers are trying to make it easier for people living in the state under the Compact of Free Association to pay for health care.

The state recently decided to end Medicaid coverage for most Micronesian migrants and to enroll them in health insurance through the Hawaii Health Connector. That saves the state about $27 million.

But some lawmakers fear that low-income migrants might not be able to pay for their new health care plans.

They introduced a bill that would require the state to cover the costs of premiums, copays and deductibles.

Under the state's new rules, low-income people who aren't citizens can't keep Medicaid coverage. Migrants who are blind, pregnant, elderly or disabled are able to stay on Medicaid.

The Senate Health Committee advanced the bill Wednesday.

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